by Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | April 14, 2014
Jim Weldy, vice president of marketing and business development at Medstrat Inc., an orthopedic software company, has noticed a few trends in the PACS market. He spoke with DOTmed News about the future of PACS-especially for medical specialties like orthopedics.
DMN: There has been more market penetration for PACS than most other IT products and the market has been robust. First, do you agree with that statement? And second, is the market saturated or is there room for growth?
I would agree that the market is increasingly penetrated and saturated in orthopedic PACS. But while the orthopedic market may be fairly far along the PACS penetration curve, the adoption has been with PACS offerings that do not serve the needs of orthopedic surgeons effectively.
In fact, I would draw a line between the PACS penetration and the orthopedic-effective PACS penetration. When the market gets saturated, a handful of solid vendors end up dominating the market-that's what we're seeing at Medstrat. Our recent and near-term growth projections in the orthopedic PACS market are largely conversions from other vendors' systems: two-thirds to three-quarters of our deals right now are conversion opportunities.
DMN: What do you see as the core issues with PACS in terms of the consolidation of practices-especially with multispecialty groups and ACOs? What does consolidation mean for those coming together with multiple systems?
Consolidation by design is intended to achieve clinical and financial benefits for the organization and its patients. The natural inclination is to consolidate technologies when the organizations consolidate. But this can pose a problem for specialty clinics joining a larger network: we sometimes see a pre-existing imaging solution for the hospital radiology department get foisted onto specialists working in their clinics. This results in specialty clinics using tools, which preclude them from practicing their art at a level that is best for patient and provider alike.
We want to advise and lead groups to think about consolidation not only in terms of cutting costs, but also in terms of maximizing revenue and optimizing workflow for their specialists.
DMN: There is a fair amount of excitement in the marketplace about orthopedic PACS templating. What is that excitement about?
Digital templating enables presurgical planning for orthopedic physicians: they can identify the right size implant for surgery as well as the associated instruments that go with those implants. Prior to PACS, surgeons would plan for orthopedic surgery putting acetate overlays over X-rays. When PACS emerged, surgeons started to use digital templating built onto the PACS by third parties. Those templates were notoriously inaccurate, though, so digital templating kind of went into the dark ages.